Have You Ever Had A Crushed Spirit?

Disappointment. Grief. Pain. Sorrow. Strife. Broken relationships.

All of these in isolation, or all together, are enough to crush even the strongest among us. And a crushed spirit can often last much longer than any sickness. Illnesses often have cures or medicine to alleviate the pain. A crushed spirit knows no such relief. Or does it?

Psalm 34:18 says that the Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. The psalmist goes on to say that while the afflictions of the righteous are many, the Lord delivers him out of them all.

The proverb is true. We cannot bear a crushed spirit. But God can. While we would break under the sheer weight of such sorrow, God upholds us. And we are not alone. God knows our circumstances and is there to deliver us. Is it always immediate? No, but it will happen one day. While he will always be near to us in our moments of deepest suffering, he might not deliver us right away. Deliverance is coming, and while we wait for that day his promise to be near sustains us.

But there is something even more profound about this God who is near to the crushed in spirit. He knows the crushing blows intimately well. How can we know this? Because he crushed his own Son for our deliverance. The Savior, God the Son, was crushed for us. The Father was momentarily separated from him so we would always be near him. No one ever experienced a more crushed spirit than Christ on that day on the cross, all so we would never face such wrath and condemnation. Our ultimate deliverance from pain and sorrow is sure because the cross is sure. Psalm 34:18 is true because the cross is true.

A crushed spirit is impossible to bear; this is true. But by God’s grace and kindness, we do not have to bear such crushing blows alone. We have a God who not only promises his presence in every pain but also knows our pain most intimately. A crushed spirit only God can bear, and he daily bears us up.

Do You Harbor a Critical Spirit?

One morning, while a couple was having breakfast, the wife looked out her window and saw her neighbor hanging clothes on the line to dry.  She noticed the wash was dingy and dirty and said to her husband, “That lady doesn’t know how to wash clothes. I wonder if she uses cheap detergent?” Day after day, she would look out the window and make the same comments, saying she couldn’t believe how the neighbors wore those dirty-looking clothes. Then, one day, the woman looked out the window, and the clothes were clean and bright. She was surprised and said to her husband, “Look, Honey, I can’t believe it. She finally learned how to wash clothes. I wonder what happened?” Her husband smiled and said, “Honey, I got up early this morning and decided to clean our windows.”

We can learn a valuable lesson from this story.

A critical spirit taints every area of our lives. When we are critical and fault-finding in people or things around us, we need to stop and make sure it’s not our own dirty window that’s clouding what we see. A critical spirit follows you everywhere you go, and you can’t get away from it. If you can’t see anything in a positive light – if you only see the scratch on the floor and don’t see the beauty in the amazing house – if you only see what others do wrong and never what they do right – then you need to clean your window.

At some point, we need to look in the window and say, “Maybe I’m the one who needs to change.” You see If you are always critical, then maybe you’ve developed a habit of seeing the bad instead of the good. And perhaps your life filter is dirty. Perhaps you have become judgmental and condemning instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, and maybe you have even become entitled to your critical spirit and feel justified in judging and condemning others.

The good news is that through the help of the Holy Spirit, you can change your way of thinking and begin to see people through God’s filter – through their strengths instead of their weaknesses. But it’s a choice that you will need to make. You can focus on their good qualities, or you can focus on the things you don’t like and magnify the faults of others and the characteristics that annoy you.

Some people have become so critical-minded that no matter what is done for them, it’s never right or good enough. If it’s a spouse situation – our filter can get so skewed and tainted that we can never see their good and can even forget why we fell in love with them in the first place and magnify the wrong in them. If you struggle in this area, make a list of the good qualities you like about your spouse. Write down the good things your spouse does. And catch them doing something good and acknowledge it. For instance, your husband may not be the best communicator, but is a hard worker. She may have some weaknesses, but she is an amazing mother.

Start focusing on the good things because if you have a critical spirit, your entire outlook may be poisoned and will damage your relationships and break intimacy with people, self, and God.  People respond more to praise than they respond to criticism.

What is the definition of being critical?

The dictionary describes it as one who is inclined to find fault or judge with severity often too readily and condemn without facts.  So ask yourself. The same questions.

Am I inclined to find fault with people?

Do I judge with severity?

Do I condemn without facts?

Many people who are critical of others judge themselves in the same harsh manner. Is this you? Ask yourself

Do I think negative thoughts about myself?

Do I judge myself with severity?

Why do I do this?

The answer is often buried deep in the past. God is faithful to expose those root issues that are causing us to view the world, self, and others, including God, through our dirty window.

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”

Mathew 15:13

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties;
 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-34

 

Sometimes the Weight You Need to Lose Isn’t On Your Nody

 


But we’ll sure keep trying to focus on the outside, trying to control what we are putting in, trying to deal with this area or lose that, trying to do whatever we can to address things on outside, when all along, it’s those things on the inside that we have never addressed or gave attention to that are actually the problem. And more often than not, the inside is the very reason we constantly feel like we need to be doing so much to the outside. What is going on inside, is often the biggest reason why we struggle so much in certain areas of our minds, trying to live life.

We all have stuff. We all have junk in our hearts that have gotten stored up. And the only way to be free of the internal weight from it, is to allow Jesus to take you through it, so He can help you deal with it, and finally be free of it. And when we can finally get to that place, the place where we allow Him into the depths of our heart, parts where we rarely let anyone go, and surrender the baggage, hurts, violations, the wounds, even the guilt of what WE may have done that we are carrying, we can truly let go, and be free of the heaviness and weight that is holding us back from the life God has called us to live and that we should be living.

When people come in for counseling, most of the time they never even realize how much weight they’ve been carrying. They don’t even realize all that’s there (and I was one of them!😳🙈). They have gotten so used to it, that it’s become a part of them. And it’s crept it’s way into so many areas of their life, affecting HOW they live life and behave in relationships.

There’s a reason why we do what we do, friends. There’s a reason why we struggle in areas, or in relationships. There’s a reason for it ALL. And I want to start addressing these topics more to help you. So you’re reminded that you’re not your behaviors. Behaviors change. You’re not just a bad person, or someone who “just can’t get it right.” If you’re in Christ, you’re a child of the Living God, who is has the power to restore what is broken in all our lives. Who can heal all that was lost, and use it to glorify Him in our life! So stick around… new things coming. ❤️☝🏻🙏🏼

Do You Want to Be Made Well?

Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2: “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, feeling emotionally that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.

Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.

Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.

If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3